Nerds Are So Troublesome


elisabeth_icon.gif sal_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

NPCs by:


Scene Title Nerds Are So Troublesome
Synopsis The trip to Cambridge, backtracking Edward Ray's steps.
Date Aug 12, 2009

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts

Can you read this grafitti?

The weather's been ominous throughout the drive; the mid-seventies temperatures made worse by the humidity when the trio of Evolved have been forced to pull over into a service area to get gas or to pick up something for lunch along the way. The sun's gleam down upon the Toyota's champagne-coloured hood is dimmed by the clouds that stir overhead, growing darker and thicker with every passing hour. There's a storm coming.

Can you - decode this information?

As ever, New England is a study in contrasts; forestland and ranges of cattle between upthrust eruptions of urban life like scattered pockmarks on the landscape, mostly crusting along the coast in charming and attractive fashion tainted by the fading of past glories. The traffic's been light, given it's the middle of the week, and they've made good time driving up the way.

Can you - work out what they're saying to you?

The signs have led the way, and it's in the mid-afternoon that Elisabeth pulls the car up into the campus parking lot. Green fields are crossed by students going to and fro between towering buildings, the sign of college life everywhere. This is where Doctor Edward Ray worked, before he took up the cause, and this is where he lived.

Can you read the signs yet?

As she parks in a visitor's space — which, like any campus, is off the beaten path of both students and faculty — Elisabeth's breath hisses out. "All right, kids. Now… you remember where we parked the car, right? Don't be late. Here's a little money — don't spend it all in one place. And we'll meet back here in two hours." There's a thread of amusement in her tone. The drive up with the two of them in the car has been…. entertaining. Really! "And don't go asking random passers-by where to find the nuclear wessels, okay, Sal?" Then she looks at the two of them, getting a bit more serious. "The math department's building is that way," she points. "I figured we'd start with his office."

Long car rides are, in Xiulan's opinion, mind numbing. So much so that she'd planned ahead and brought at least a few magazines along with her. Fortunately, they are there and she's out of the car as quick as you please. She does, however, slant a glance at Elizabeth, her lips twitching in a wry smirk as she notes in teasing tones. "So, that's a no on offering free tattoos at the local Frats?" Cause, you know, there could potentially be lots of hot, young, male flesh involved in that. Which is, all in all, far more entertaining then the /math/ department.

Sal hasn't been in the best mood lately for jokes about Star Trek and mall shopping. He tries his best to give Liz a smile, but he looks tired and more than a little stressed out. The doc's looked better, that's for sure. "As much as I'm glad to be out of the car, I'd be just as happy to be back into it and heading back to the city."

He stretches and rubs at a sore shoulder, then rubs his face. "So. Which way?"

Elisabeth eyes Sal and then simply nods, though she shares a bit of a smile with Xiulan. "Nope — no free tattoos." She gathers the campus map that she printed out, her phone, and Edward Ray's keys, and then she points. "That way. Onward."

Grimacing mildly, Xiulan slants a glance off in the direction of Fraternity Row. Obviously, she is considering heading that way, regardless. She does, however, eventually stick her tongue out at Liz, slip her hands into the pockets of her jeans and trudge off in the direction of the dreaded Math Department. "Do you know," she comments over her shoulder. "What kind of people hang around in math departments?" There is a momentary pause during which she slants a glance back over her shoulder. "People who favor pocket protectors and protactors…"

Sal hasn't been in much of a talking mood, not through the whole trip, and not now either, apparently. He just falls into step behind Liz. "Tell me if you see a coffee place. I could really use one."

It's a lengthy walk across the campus, of course, from the uncomfortably distant visitor's lot through the sprawling array of buildings that make up the complex. They're passed by students going here and there in small knots of conversation, and in turn they pass by others settled on benches or beneath trees going over books or talking on their cell phones. The occasional joggers heads past, slender lines leading from their ears to their iPod. There is also, of course, numerous little coffee-shop facades to be seen in more commercial corners. It's a college, after all.

Eventually they reach the main quads, and the helpfully labeled signs direct them to the stately edifice of building 2 - home to the Mathematics Department. At this hour, most classes are getting out and seminars are beginning, so student traffic in and out of the building are lighter than usual, allowing them to get in without pushing. There is, of course, a desk, behind which a pair of attendants are chattering about 'levels' and 'raid instances' enthusiastically.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes and says mildly, "You know…. not to sound snotty or anything, but neither one of you had to come. I'm perfectly capable of taking a two-hour drive and doing an investigation on my own. It's kinda my job. You know? Cop?" She slants a look at Xiulan. "Don't bitch at the driver, okay? If you didn't want to come up here for this, you should have bitched at Richard before we left." It's been something of a long couple of weeks for her too, and she's doing her best to keep on an upbeat — or at least neutral! — tone. As they walk across campus, she points out coffee for Sal and pretty much keeps too many comments to herself. Looking at the kids on this campus reminds her brutally of the Washington Irving explosion, and she's having a bit of a hard time of it. When they reach the main building, Elisabeth tells them quietly, "He was up on the third floor. Not likely he left stuff here, but… you never know."

"I'm sorry, Elisabeth. I've just got a lot on my mind. I thought getting out of the city would help. I've also been having a shit time sleeping lately." Sal makes note of the coffee place. He'll pick one up for the drive back. "Besides, it can't hurt to have backup, right? That's what cops do, isn't it? Bring backup along?" He really doesn't know. He's a surgeon.

Arching a brow at Liz, Xiulan regards her for a long moment before noting in pointed tones. "Yes, Liz, which is exactly why I was trying to make you laugh. So, STFU, you know? Talk about bitchy?" Her brow ticks a tad higher, before she winks at the cranky copper. "Chill out, we're in party central despite the super secret 'instance' we're running." When Sal speaks up, Xiulan slants a glance in his direction. Her attention, however, is stolen by the kids at the desk, lips twitching in a wry smile. "Ten bucks says they are Horde scum." Yes, Xiulan plays WoW. Shhhh. Secret.

Elisabeth grumbles at Xiulan and sticks her tongue at the other woman. "I said I didn't mean to sound bitchy!" She slants Xiu a look that says 'Horde scum??' She has no idea what that is. And then she shakes her head slightly. "No worries — I'm just cranky in my own right, so… whatever. Let's just find what this crazy fucker wanted us to find, huh?" She glances at them and grimaces. "I'm too damn old to party with this crowd… they all look like my students at the high school."

There are, of course, stairs not far from the main lobby of the building. They could pass by the desk without too much trouble, of course, and head up if they desired.

Sal is just following Liz's lead and trying to not act too 'bitchy' himself. Xiulan gets a look, but he doesn't comment. Horde? What? She's cracking jokes to the wrong crowd here, apparently. "So, what exactly are we hoping to find? More clues, or answers?"

Up they go, and down the hall, and— to an office door bearing the correct number, according to Elisabeth's research. The plaque outside is blank, and the door's unlocked and easily opened. The office is, unfortunately, empty aside from a desk that's clear of belongings. It appears that Doctor Ray's office has been cleared out.

Once at the office, Xiulan rests a shoulder against the wall alongside the door, her expression shuttering considerably. "So, what are the chances that the office is trapped?" Probably, she admits, not very high, but it is something to consider.

"Pfft," Liz replies. "Slim to none." She glances around the room and checks first of all to see if one of the keys even fits the door. That will, she thinks, either rule in or out searching the place. "If one of you guys wants to check air vents and kick the baseboards and check out floorboards and such… can't hurt."

Sal nods to Elisabeth, then moves to the vents and the baseboards. He checks for anything out of the ordinary. "He's a tricky bastard, isn't he? Breadcrumbs all over the place. Secrets in corners. If I didn't know better, I'd say he likes playing games with people. Hey…check the desk." He points to it. "The keys to those things get lost all the time. If it's still locked, it might mean there's something in there."

The door does lock - theoretically - but the keys don't seem to go to this particular door. The shelves are bare, the desk's drawers even turn out to be empty after testing the keys (which none upon the ring fit, still). Someone's cleared the place out, presumably to make room for the new tenant. It has, after all, been a long time since Ray last came to work. A check of the vents and baseboards similarly comes to little avail… until someone checks the small garbage can beside the desk, where someone tossed one of the last notes left in the office half-crumpled up. It's a notification of the office's contents being moved to storage.

Check the desk…. "Right." Meandering over to the desk, Xiulan is about to try the drawers when she notices the notice in the trash can. "Um… Everything has been moved to storage, guys." Where storage is? She doesn't rightly know. But….. "I bet the hordies down at the desk can point us in the right direction."

Elisabeth looks up and looks interested. "Well, shit. That's not terribly unexpected, I guess…. except insofar as there's an invoice here NOW about it." She shrugs. "Let's go check it out." That's easy enough. Though it means trooping all the way back down to the front. Ah well. No one said investigations were FUN. They're a lot of legwork for a little reward. She stops off at the main desk and says, "Hey, excuse us…."

Sal follows Elisabeth and Xiulan out and back down the hallway. Good thing this is a university and not a military facility. It shouldn't be too hard to get in and get what they need, right?

"No way," the left-most attendant argues with the other, gesturing generally with one hand through the air, "Death Knights are so damn overpowered, dude, I mean, seriously…"

The other, a shaven-headed young man in glasses, clears his throat as the small group heads up, nudging his chin towards the trio before turning back to looking busy at the computer terminal.

"Oh, uh— " A quick grin from the slightly portly other man, breaking off from his rant about 'death knights' to look to them, "— sorry about that. Are you, ah, looking for Professor O'Darling's seminar?"

"No, we're looking for the storage room," Xiulan provides. Pausing a beat, she slants a glance at the left-most attendant and adds. "Did you hear they are adding Worgen and Goblins as a new player race?" hey, she's looking forward to that, totally. "How far have you gotten in Ulduar?" Yeah, she'll chat em up with geek talk while Liz raids the storage room.

Oh. Dear. God. Now she feels ancient. Shit. Elisabeth smiles slightly and holds up the invoice. "One of the offices was cleaned out, and Dr. Ray needs all his old stuff. Can you tell me where this is?"

"That is totally a rumor; Stef was just telling me that, but there's no way that they'd put Worgen in as a player race, I mean, they're totally evil," argues the overweight nerd of the pair with a roll of his eyes, then grins, "Oh, we cleared that shit months ago, we're top on our server…"

"Gilneas," murmurs 'Stef' as he hits a key on the computer and glances up with a long-suffering expression and a wry smile upon his lips, both brows arching, "Which storage room're you looking for? Oh— Doctor Ray?" He sits up a bit, expression brightening at the idea of it, "Shit, is he back? That guy's a genius— I could barely understand half his lectures, but man, what I did…"

"Ah," Xuilan sighs. "Your lucky, we're totally stuck on General." And yes, she is delighting in the WoW talk, that much is abundantly clear and hey, she's wicked enough that she can't resist teasing the geeks, just a little. "I got the most badass tattoo, though." And up go her shirt displaying a picture perfect tattoo of Alexstrasza ala Playelf over the left side of her abdomen. Course, on the right, is an equally intricate rendering of Alexstrasza in dragon form.

"I don't know if he's coming back, we just need to fetch his things. Seriously…" She eyes them. "She can hang out with you. Just tell us where to go?"

All the geek talk goes way over Sal's head. He's a doctor and a socialite. He spends all his time performing rhinoplasty or attending cocktail parties. Or lately, attending to Ferrymen business. He has no idea what a 'mmmmmo' is or a horde or nelf or nerf or instance or anything. Might as well be swahili. "Yeah, uh, we're kind of in a bit of a hurry."

"Uh. Uh. Wow."

Stef's attention is drawn towards that particular tattoo as well, but unlike his friend, he can do more than 'uh uh' over and over again, which he accomplishes by reaching over to smack his friend upside the head. "Stop embarassing me, Ed," he mutters, then looks back up to the pair, "Well, we can't just hang out his belongings, you understand, he has to either come down himself or make the arrangements for you to come do it for him."

"He's already made the arrangements," Xiulan assures them. "Otherwise we wouldn't be here." Course, she winks at Ed and grins, her hands drifting down to unbutton the top button of her jeans. "You gotta see the Thrall tat…" And around she goes, wiggling her jean shorts down enough to show the boys the tramp stamp O' Thrall on the small of her back. Hey, she's not above a distraction. Mind you, she doesn't /really/ have any of these tats… Or she won't the second they leave the campus.

"He sent us with the keys, man!" Elisabeth dangles the ring. "We just don't know where we're GOING. So… c'mon… cut us a little slack, please?" She does her best not to sound impatient, cuz Xiu is doing a great job at distracting the little bast… er.. horndogs.

And all Sal can do is stand there, looking one part confused, one part impatient. If he could just find someone they would let by and shapeshift into them…but there's no way to find that out without asking them. "I'm sure you gentlemen don't want complaints of poor customer service on your record. This looks like a pretty cushy gig."

Ed? Ed? Okay, Ed's gone bye-bye, guys. "You, uh… have any more?"

Stef rubs a hand against the side of his face a bit at his friend's shameless ogling and commentary, before giving his head a firm shake, "Look, keys or no keys, I can't just let you go rummage through Professor Ray's stuff, you three. And if those are the keys to storage lockup, then you stole them from maintenance, so…" Wry, he looks between them, "Look, what's this all about?"

Elisabeth just sighs and pulls out a badge, flashing it at Stef. "It's a police matter. Now. Answer the damn question or I'm running you in for obstruction, kiddo." It's a quick flash, not enough to let them see that its NYPD versus Cambridge PD.

"Well, yes," Xiulan assures Ed in tones that are almost dirty. "But I couldn't show them to you here." Slanting a glance at Stef, she twitches one brow, her lips twitching up in a wry smile. "Yeah, you got us, it's a new raid. Ray has epic gear hidden in his desk. Dude, seriously, he's a Math and Physics professor….." And then Liz is flashing the badge, to which Xiulan inwardly winces. Hey, she's Triad, cops are not good. "So, come on guys, lets not make this a big deal."

Well. That's one way to do it. If seducing the nerds doesn't work, try scaring them. He's learning a thing or two about how to get things done from these ladies. Sal just arches a brow and waits to see what will happen.

"Hey, whoa…" Stef's hands lift a bit as the badge is flashed, "…look, I'm just— following procedure here, miss, I'm not obstructing anything. Do you have a warrant? Is Professor Ray in some kind've trouble?" He actually looks concerned, not just for himself but for Edward Ray.

Ed, meanwhile, edges the chair away from his friend and grins weakly at Xiulan, trying to play off like he's not the one causing the trouble, "If it was up to me, I mean, heck, I'd even give you his mail that we're holding, he was a weirdo anyway, but, y'now, Stef has seniority here— "

"No, he's not in TROUBLE. Geez. He's turning his paperwork over to us as part of an ongoing investigation into a plaigiarism problem — someone's copying his research. I just didn't want to make a big stink about it and have the rumor mill going nuts." She glances at Stef and grins. "Really really sad that you can have someone brought up on theft charges for that kind of shit, isn't it? Now, really… c'mon. Just tell me where the damn storage unit is so I can get back to my life and you can…" She smirks toward Xiulan, "get back to yours?"

"Pffft," is Xiulan's response to Ed. "It's no big deal Eddie, I completely understand." Course, she slants a glance at Liz as the woman goes on speaking and asides 'soto voce', "Unfortunately, my superior can get a little cranky. She hasn't learned to release that tension in raids, yet." Not for lack of trying on Xiu's part is pointedly implied.

"Hey, I'm just here to do the heavy lifting," says Sal. He lifts a shoulder. This really is an interesting learning experience, even if he's not being particularly helpful.

"Uh huh. Pull the other one while you're at it," Stef's lips curve in a slow frown, leaning forward a bit with both hands on the desk behind the counter as he fixes a suspicious look on Elisabeth's face, "You show up the day after somebody sends a UPS package without a return address to Professor Ray, asking for his stuff, and you think I'm gonna buy this 'plagarism' story, officer? I wasn't bored yesterday."

The other Ed - the one getting hit on - makes vague gestures towards Stef, mouthing 'I don't know him' at the group while keeping one eye on Xiu's abdomen.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes and looks toward Xiulan, "The warrant please," she tells her. And then she looks at Stef. "WHAT UPS package? And where is that at this time?"

Elizabeth is flashed a light-hearted smile as Xiulan opens her purse and makes a show of rummaging through the contents. Mind you, she is actually buying a moment of time while turning a night club play bill into a warrant for the siezure of all contents of Doctor Edward Rays' office. "Your wish," she murmurs as she hands it to Elisabeth. "Is my command."

While all this is going on, Sal steps away, to look to see if there's a directory anywhere in the immediate vicinity. In case they can't get by the Knights Who Say Ni over there and have to do a little break and entering.

Of course, like ninety-nine percent of all citizens of the United States of America, the pair at the desk wouldn't know an accurate warrant if it leapt up and bit them in the face. The officer gets a suspicious look from Stef even so, before he leans over to check out the paper, frowning still as he leans back a bit and admits reluctantly, "We've got his package here at the desk, procedure is we hold it for forty-eight hours. Ed, get them the key to store-room four, okay?"

"Thank you," Elisabeth says to Stef. Good God Almighty, this job fucking sucks. She's so hitting Richard when they get back. It'll just make her feel better. She manages to not mutter a bunch of imprecations under her breath. And then she waits with Sal and Xiu. "We'll take the package with us, as well. The warrant covers all belongings of Dr. Ray on the premises. That includes packages."

"You really didn't need to make her pissed," Xiulan asides to Stef. "Now it'll be unpleasant til we get out of here." Wrinkling her nose, she winks at Eddie before wandering over to stand near Liz. "Told ya we should hit a Frat before coming in here," is murmured under her breath.

Sal will ask later how Xiulan managed to produce a warrant from thin air. Now that it seems like they're actually making progress, he moves to rejoin the ladies. "I should have gotten the coffee on the way over here," he murmurs.

As suspicious as 'Stef' is, he still rolls the chair over to a cabinet; keys rattling as he unlocks it, pulling the lower open and reaching in to draw out a small UPS box before rolling the chair along back over, setting it on the desk. "I'll need to inform the Dean," he notes, reaching over for the phone.

Edmund, meanwhile, produces a small ring of keys, rattling it enticingly and offering it to Xiulan with a silly grin.

Elisabeth doesn't seem a bit fazed by it. "Go right ahead. In the meantime, I have a job to do and you're wasting my time. ~ONE of you get the box and take us where we need to go, please, and the other of you, I'm sure is required to man the desk.~" The power of suggestion is a wonderful thing…. if it works. She's hoping between the Voice Of Authority now laced with every bit of 'you really want to help the police in any way possible' soothingness that she can muster, we might get out of here unscathed. Hey… it works during riots!

Grinning at Eddie, Xiulan all but sashays over to link her arm through his own. Hey, she even presses a bit against his side. "Lets get that storage room knocked out, Eddie." Flashing him a wink, she gives a little hip nudge to get him a movin.

Sal stands aside, ready to do heavy lifting when prompted. But the phone in his pocket starts to ring. He tugs it out and frowns at the number. "Sorry ladies, I gotta take this. I'll come find you in a minute." He steps off to a more private corner and answers it. Ferry business.

It's a standard UPS box for transporting small objects, perhaps a foot long and a half-foot wide, closed near-surgically with tape and addressed to Doctor Edward Ray. There's no return address specified, curiously enough, as mentioned by the suspicious desk attendant.

The subsonics mingled with the authoritative tone of the policewoman seem to cow Stef, who sets the phone down and allows, "I'll, ah, just report to him later. Just, ah, let me know if you need anything, officer…"

Ed, of course, is more than happy to push up from his chair and step around to show them the way to the storage room in the depths of the building. It probably doesn't hurt that this is probably more female attention than he's had in a long time.

"Thank you," Elisabeth tells the kid mildly. And she picks up the box and follows Xiulan and Ed. She waves to Sal to show him where they're going for when he wants to catch up, and then she mutters something under her breath where it can't be heard. That took far longer than she'd like, and this part? This part needs to get done fast just in case Stef really does call the dean. The fewer people she has to lie to, the better.

Xiulan is perfectly aware of the fact that this needs to get done fast. Such being the case, she is definately urging Eddie along a good clip. Hey, she's not an illegal alien and has /no/ desire to run afoul of the law, in any regard. "You'll have to give me your toon's name and server, Eddie," she asides as she hustles him along.

There's good news, and bad news, for the group. The bad news is, it's not as short of a hike as they would've liked, the storage not even being in the same building as the department. The good news is, the things left behind in the office that were personal effects as opposed to being property of the institute are few enough that they fit in a single box. There's nothing of interest discovered there after an extensive search, though it can certainly be hauled away - though it's a bit heavy. That leaves just the UPS parcel as the only real item of 'interest' recovered by them.

When they have all the stuff in there, Elisabeth comments mildly, "Well, I hope that's all we needed to pick up. Cuz we are so out of here. Before the real cops show up and arrest our asses." She helps with the stuff we're taking, thinks to check to see if any of the keys open the storage area, just because, and then heads back for the car.

"Nerds are so troublesome," Xiulan asides on the way to the car. "Course, Eddie /was/ kinda cute. I'll have to make an alt on his server." Like she doesn't have enough to do in her life, right?

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